MHB lawyers are skilled at obtaining records through Washington’s Public Records Act and the federal Freedom of Information Act to investigate wrongdoing by public officials.
Access to public records is often essential to investigate wrongdoing by public officials that underlies many of MHB’s civil rights cases. Fortunately for us in Washington, the state Public Records Act (PRA), RCW 42.56 et seq., is a powerful tool to enforce the public’s right to information. The PRA requires local and state government agencies to search for and produce records to requesters, under the pain of statutory monetary penalties if they wrongfully deny access. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides a similarly effective way of obtaining records held by the federal government.
Alongside the civil rights claims we bring on behalf of our clients, MHB lawyers are skilled litigators under both the PRA and FOIA in challenging local, state, and federal government agencies that keep important records out of public view, and out of our clients’ hands. When the government has failed to divulge important records about our clients, MHB lawyers have routinely brought successful lawsuits that resulted in access to those records and substantial monetary penalties for our clients, in the 5-figure and even 6-figure range. And it is not unusual that the records MHB lawyers obtain by PRA litigation reflect badly on the state actors whom we have sued for violating our clients’ civil rights. Through the potent combination of the PRA and civil rights statutes, MHB has an excellent track record of ensuring government transparency and vindicating the wrongs suffered by our clients at the hands of government actors.